Away We Go


Shadows line the tile and a cool summer
breeze floods through the screens like water
through a broken dam. I can hear
the young men revving their car engines at the red
light on James Street and for a moment
I remember the smell of oil burning, the rush of waiting
for the light to turn. It seems a long
time ago.

They rush into the night, and I count the gears
in my head. First. Second. Third. They leave behind
a steady hum of city silence, which means:
the refrigerator
the neighbor’s air conditioner in the alley
a siren four streets away
and the creak of floors above me as Maile
walks the hall.

Twenty years from now, when my children
are grown, and Maile and I sit
on the porch on a summer night
like this one, what familiar things will the past
use to snag me? Will the cry of a baby in an
apartment across the street remind me of these
sleepless nights? Will a family walking
the sidewalk remind me of our own treks through
the city
for ice cream
or to the park
or to church?
Will a book I read remind me of my
attempts – successful? not? – to publish my own words?

For now I turn off the rest of the lights
and stand a moment longer in the hall on cool
wood floors, the breeze pooling around my feet,
the sound of another car revving at the light. The bass
thumps. Someone shouts. The light

Away we go.

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